Long post warning
This dude is a certifiable stud and his career will be utterly wasted in Cincinnati. I would go all in on trading up for the first overall pick to land this guy. Our team almost made the playoffs with a bottom tier QB and an old kicker that lost a couple games on his own. Frank Reich is a damn good coach and carried this team admirably with what he had. Ballard has made a lot of great moves and while I don’t always agree with his moves, his vision and philosophy is exactly what you want from your GM. This team has the roster and leadership in place to really build something special. Our offensive line is top 3, and our defense has some strong playmakers that will only get better. Definitely need some improvement on that side and I’d like another receiver but that can all be addressed in the offseason.
What we really need, and I am not in any way opposed to spending the draft capital necessary to do so, is a true franchise quarterback. Sure we could wait around and draft Herbert, Love, or Tua if he falls, but none of those guys give me the confidence in being year in and year out studs. I want Joe Burrow. This man hits every throw, has the balls to drop bombs, the mobility to extend plays when pass protection breaks down, and would fit perfectly in Reich’s quick release offense. We have the line to keep him protected, we have a solid stable of backs and receivers. I don’t care what anyone says, our receivers are good, they just don’t have a QB that can see them, hit them when they’re open, or hit them with any reliable accuracy. Luck made Ebron a pro bowler and Brissett got him three touchdowns. Quarterback is so far and away the most important position on the team, and being in QB purgatory, which is where we are with Brissett, is being doomed to utter mediocrity.
Now for the logistics of making it happen. Right now we’re slated for drafting at 16 in the first, 47 in the second, and 78 in the third. We also have the Skins second rounder at pick 34 to help out. According to my calculations, using calculatorsoup.com, if we trade our 16, 34, and 78 this year, as well as our next two first rounders for 2021 and ‘22 (valuing them as 28th overall which I think is fair and probably stiffing us a little), we could hypothetically get that number one overall. They would actually get more value in that trade. We’d still get our second for this year and all the other picks other than the third, and there’s never any guarantee that we’ll get our money’s worth on the two future first rounders.
We we have a ton of cap room and there’s some pretty decent players slated to hit free agency that we could use to fortify he roster around Burrow. A strong Dline presence is a necessity and there’s a few solid ones that could become available; Chris Jones, Arik Armstead, DJ Reader, Jadeveon Clowney, Javon Hargrave, Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson, Leonard Williams (potential based as long as he doesn’t demand a bunch of money), Michael Pierce, Jarran Reed, Yannick Ngakoue, Emmanuel Ogbah, Matthew Judon, Andrew Billings, and David Onyemata are all guys that I would be all about signing this offseason to reinforce the Dline. Obviously most will be resigned, but at least a few will hit free agency and we should pursue the best value ones. I want to keep Houston, Autry, and Stewart but getting rid of Hunt seems prudent. He was good in ‘18 but very ineffective this year and would take no dead cap to be rid of him while saving $4 million.
I would also like to see Desir cut. It’ll save $6.5 million and produce no dead cap. Some corners I’d like to see targeted would be Chris Harris Jr, Byron Jones, Daryl Worley, James Bradberry, or Eli Apple. I think we’re good at LB but if Corey Littleton became available and wasn’t expensive I’d go for it. I love me some coverage backers. I’m also happy with safety but if Justin Simmons became available and didn’t break the bank I’d explore that option.
On offense i would like to see some competition for Glowinski and would love to see Joe Thuney or Graham Glasgow come in and unseat him. At WR there aren’t a lot of free agents that I’m interested in but Tajae Sharpe intrigues me and I don’t think he’d be too costly. I’d like another TE to compliment Jack but not many stick out, only one is Hunter Henry. His Sirianni connection could be helpful to us and hopefully he wouldn’t command too much money as he’s been hurt a bunch the last two years. Still been great when he plays but it would be hard to justify paying a guy so injury prone. Another option could be Austin Hooper or possibly Luke Willson if we want to add a cheap but solid body. While I like our backs, I’d still like to see us pick up a bruiser back and I think Gus Edwards would be perfect for that role. Also would not mind bringing in a good leader blocker so we can run a lot of different personnel packages and bring in Anthony Sherman, it’s not like fullbacks are expensive anyway. Also I assume we would not keep Hoyer or Wilson so that’s be another $4 million we could save.
By my calculations, with those releases we’d have around $115 million in cap space. I know Ballard isn’t a huge spender, but I think it’s because the free agents are always looking for something that we aren’t offering.
Hypothetically lets say we sign,
Arik Armstead (17M/Year)
Javon Hargrave (9M)
Chris Harris (10M)
Justin Simmons (12M)
Graham Glasgow (9M)
Tashae Sharpe (9M)
Hunter Henry (9M)
Gus Edwards (4M)
Anthony Sherman (1M)
That’s a total of $90 million and leaves us another $25 million to extend Castonzo. He’ll be quite close to the highest paid at his position, Taylor Lewan (16M per), but he’s also older so I don’t think he’ll be quite there. I’m guessing $15M, leaving another 10 for the draft picks and a couple important ERFAs which is a negligible amount. Only ones I want are Pascal, Fountain, Marcus Johnson, Alie-Cox, and McLaughlin for a kicking competition in camp with a rookie or vet.
Also if it became too fiscally irresponsible to sign all those guys then I would totally understand. It wouldn’t break my heart to miss out on Sharpe, Henry or Simmons. I just think we could patch up the roster quite a bit this year, and get the future face of the NFL.
Anyway sorry for the long read, but Joe Burrow had me fantasizing about the possibility of getting him with the night he had tonight. I know it’d probably be hard to even get the Bengals to give us that pick, but what’s everyone else’s opinion? Would you make that trade and do you think the Bengals would even accept that trade? Maybe he’ll refuse to play for them because of how inept they are and demand a trade like Eli and Elway.
TL;DR - Would you trade our next three first rounders, our early second rounder, and our third rounder in exchange for Joe Burrow?